Does this sound familiar? The hours between 5:30 p.m. and bedtime whiz by in a chaotic rush of prepping dinner, coaxing kids to eat said dinner, playing, bathing, tooth brushing, book reading, calming our bodies, and finally closing the door with (hopefully) one last “good night.” Of course, after the kids go to sleep, you still have to tidy up and prepare for the next day. Then after everything is done and the house is quiet, who among us isn’t ready for a little wind down “me time” before bed?
We have some ideas for how to spend that precious time to yourself before it’s your own bedtime—ideas that don’t include the mindless social media scroll (no judgement, because we all enjoy a good Insta scroll too). From fun and entertaining ideas to ways to create a little more calm and connection with your partner, check out our list of five ways to unwind after the kids go to bed.
Get comfy, get cozy, and get ready to be drawn in by the new book Apples Never Fall. One of our favorite authors, The New York Times bestselling author Liane Moriarty of Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret, is back with a new novel about family drama with a mystery at its heart. Moriarty explores the bonds of family, the secrets we keep, and how sometimes memories shift with time and perspective. With a gift for subtle teasers, Moriarty makes this book impossible to put down.
The story follows a family of former tennis stars whose mother goes missing and whose father is the most obvious suspect. As the four grown children look more into their mother’s disappearance, they realize their parent’s marriage and their childhood might not have been how they remember it. Add in a mysterious stranger who isn’t quite who she seems, and you’ll be binging this book before bedtime and beyond.
2. Try Conversation Starters With Your Partner
Relationships require constant tending, and for many parents, conversations can start to center on family logistics, not meaningful conversation. Of course, planning makes for a more stress-free daily routine, but sometimes it’s helpful to set aside time to truly reconnect with your partner. Have a hard time getting into the deep conversation zone? Start with a prompt—using this free app from the relationship experts at The Gottman Institute might help.
3. Watch a Feel-Good Show You Both Love
Snuggle up with your partner and pop on a favorite episode of The Office, Friends, or Parks & Rec. Or if you’re looking for something new, check out wholesome, good-for-the-soul Ted Lasso on Apple TV. The show is only 30 minutes long, so it’s perfect to squeeze in before your toddler pops out of bed asking for water or the baby wakes up for their dream feed. Of course, if drama shows are more your jam, check out Nine Perfect Strangers on Hulu, which is also based on another best-selling Liane Moriarty novel.
4. Take Five Minutes to Journal
Even for those who aren’t fans of writing, your future self will thank you for taking a few minutes to recap the day in a handwritten (or digital) journal. It can be the perfect way to remember any funny kid quotes, describe a memorable moment, or jot down something you don’t want to forget. Plenty of five-minute or one-line-a-day journals exist that help make the process of writing easier and attainable. Keep the journal in plain view on your nightstand as a helpful prompt to capture the day’s happenings.
5. Move Your Body
A few yoga stretches or a walk around the block with the dog (or a good podcast) can help clear away the stress of the day. Centering yourself before bedtime will hopefully help your body relax and get ready for sleep time. Of course, sex counts as movement too.
This post was in partnership with Henry Holt & Co. but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.